In 1789 Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter with the following famous quote: "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." I think if Ben were alive today - and he certainly lives in the spirit of the Philadelphia Union - he would definitely add to that quote, "and the Union will sign a new striker this off-season." After investing heavily in the midfield before the 2014 season, the Union struggled early in the season to link with the strikers and put the ball in the net. The Union found a magical formula in the middle of the season as Conor Casey played up top and Sebastian Le Toux played higher up on the wing. The pair combined for 20 goals and saved the season from being a complete disaster, but injuries and limited minutes later on left the Union with little to no punch - and ultimately the season was lost.
Conor Casey is 33 and at the end of his contract, potentially leaving the Union without their best playmaking forward. No one else even comes close. Behind Casey was loanee Brian Brown, Antoine Hoppenot and out of of position Pedro Ribeiro. The Union are in desperate need of forwards. Sebastian Le Toux can play there in a pinch, as could Andrew Wenger, but both proved this past season that they are most threatening when starting out wide.
Assuming the Union do bring in a striker or two, they will have to consider their depth options. One of those options is Antoine Hoppenot. Hoppenot is just 24 years old and made slightly more than $54K last season. He played in just thirteen games this year, twelve as a substitute. His first nine games were reviewed in this article, and not long after he was sent to Harrisburg where he helped the Harrisburg City Islanders make it to the USL PRO Finals.
Here are Hoppenot's MLS stats for the past two seasons:
|Antoine Hoppenot Whoscored.com Stats|
|Games||Minutes||Goals||Assists||Shots/90||Shooting %||Key Passes/90||Pass %||Tackles/Gm||Rating|
Antoine received much less playing time in 2014, and was less effective overall. He shot less often and completed key passes less often. He scored less often. He was ranked 487th out of 521 players who logged MLS minutes. In fact, only three players played more minutes and were rated lower by whoscored.com.
You be the GM. You are going to sign strikers this off-season, but you know you will need to have depth. Is Antoine Hoppenot one of those players?
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